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I have exceeded expectations, says Jayalalithaa

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Special Correspondent

Chief Minister looks back at the five years of AIADMK regime with pride and happiness

CHENNAI: After the last session of the twelfth Legislative Assembly, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa said she "looked back [at the nearly five years of AIADMK rule] with a sense of achievement, justifiable pride and happiness at Tamil Nadu's growing prosperity and bright prospects."

This was because, among other things, the State Government set right finances, gave concessions to people that far exceeded its promises, reduced taxes on many commodities and materials, touched all sections of society with a slew of welfare measures, including introduction of the social safety net, made Tamil Nadu the most preferred investment destination, did not increase bus fares despite the Centre hiking diesel prices five times, ensured that rice was given through the public distribution system at Rs.3.50 a kg and withdrew all harsh measures it was forced to adopt because of the fiscal mismanagement of the earlier regime.

"We have achieved a miracle," she said, referring to the financial turnaround that the State had achieved.

Worries over

When she took over the reins of the government in 2001, "There was a feeling of worry" at the "fiscal mess into which the State was thrown by the DMK," she said and elaborated on the state of finances then: "No one envied me when I took over. In fact, everyone pitied me... The World Bank wrote us off. Asian Development Bank said Tamil Nadu was finished... In the past five years we have successfully shown that where there is a will there is a way," she said and added that she had proved her critics wrong.

When she was forced to introduce harsh measures in 2001 and 2002, she had promised people that this was temporary and that she would compensate once the State finances looked up. Now, she had exceeded them.

Stating that every State now wanted to emulate Tamil Nadu, Ms. Jayalalithaa emphasised that Tamil Nadu was forging ahead "with a high growth trajectory" on the "path of progress" and was "on its way to become the numero uno State in the country."

Leader in IT

Multinationals chose Tamil Nadu over other States and countries to locate their manufacturing units and the State was a leader in both computer software and hardware.

"We have achieved more than any other government in the entire history since Independence."

She expressed her "profound love and gratitude" for "the belief, trust and unstinted support" that the people of Tamil Nadu had shown to her and said that she had done everything in her powers "to give maximum benefits" which were "not enjoyed by people in any other State in India."

Standard of life

Her welfare measures had made the life of people of the State easier, improved their standard of living and had given them a better quality of life.

"I have exceeded their [people's] expectations... I have not only fulfilled the promises. I have given many benefits which they never expected," she said.

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